After Super Rugby week 3 the Stormers are the only South African team to retain their unbeaten record. It took an 82nd minute try to secure an away win against the Lions.
Super Rugby Week 3
Ryan Jordan considers the most important aspects coming out of this weekend’s action.
Hurricanes 38 Cell C Sharks 22
Hurricanes – Tries: Wes Goosen, Ngani Laumape, Ben Lam 2 and Dane Coles; Conversions: Jordie Barrett 5; Penalty: Jordie Barett
Cell C Sharks – Tries: Madosh Tambwe, Tyler Paul and Mzamo Majola; Conversions: Boeta Chamberlain and Sanele Nohamba; Penalty: Sanele Nohamba
The Sharks were hoping that Super Rugby Week 3 would present them with a three out of three result, but it was not to be. Although they put up a very credible performance, there were a few things that contributed to this loss.
The Sharks conceded a number of penalties when put under pressure by the Hurricanes. They were probably a little lucky to have not been given a yellow card after conceding yet another penalty after being given a final warning.
The Springboks won a Rugby World Cup using a reserve bench of 6 forwards and two backs. There is a risk attached to this and the Sharks experienced this on Saturday. They lost Springbok winger Makazole Mapimpi and flyhalf Boeta Chamberlain to injury in the first half. Replacement scrumhalf Sanele Nohamba is a quality player, but he isn’t a flyhalf.
Another key issue for the Sharks was that their forwards were dominated by the Hurricanes. The Canes are not renowned for great set pieces, yet they were able to put pressure on the Sharks forwards. Head Coach Shaun Everitt will have to consider his selections upfront if he wants to continue to build on the Sharks strength. Their backline. If you are under pressure upfront, your impressive backs will not easily dominate the scoreboard.
Hurricanes kicking game
This is where the Hurricanes earn credit for their victory. Coming out for the second half, it was evident that they were under instruction to use the kick pass. This took advantage of a disrupted Sharks backline defence and paid rich rewards. The Sharks struggled to cope with this and it was the Hurricanes reliance on the short kicking game that was the difference between the two teams.
— The Sharks (@TheSharksZA) February 15, 2020
Emirates Lions 30 DHL Stormers 33
Emirates Lions – Tries: Andries Coetzee, Courtnal Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Dan Kriel; Conversions: Jantjies (2); Penalties: Jantjies
DHL Stormers – Tries: Juarno Augustus, Godlen Masimla, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel; Conversions: Damian Willemse, Jean-Luc du Plessis; Penalties: Damian Willemse (3)
This proved to be an exciting game to watch. Handling errors did contribute to making it a bit of stop and start affair. A few thoughts stuck out after the game.
Both teams impressed with their tenacity to remain in the game. The first half was pretty even, with the half time score being 18 – 15 in favour of the Stormers. After the break, the Stormers took control of the game and built up a handy 26 points to 15 lead. The Lions launched a comeback with Dan Kriel and Elton Jantjes both scoring. This put the Lions in the lead by 30 points to 26. Not to be outdone, the Stormers gutsed it out and put the Lions try line under pressure for the last few minutes of the game. South African Sevens veteran Ruan Nel eventually made his way over the line in the 82nd minute.
Much was said of the wobbly Lions setpiece before the game. There were a few lapses in concentration again at scrum and lineout time, but it was a vast improvement over the previous two weekends.
A wake-up call for Stormers
The Stormers kept a clean score-sheet against their previous two opponents, the Hurricanes and the Bulls. Being put under pressure to defend their line in such a tightly contested game will help them as they build towards the challenges of touring Australasia.
Next weekend’s games
The Sharks face the Rebels in Melbourne next Saturday. The Stormers host the Jaguares in Cape Town and the Bulls host the Blues in Pretoria (Tshwane).
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